Wednesday 30 May 2012


michael wilshaw

Sir Michael Wilshaw [Head of Ofsted] has backed down on contentious plans to give schools no notice ahead of inspections, saying they will instead be notified the afternoon before. Wow! some improvement there then.

How is that going to work exactly? All the schools round here are having special days for Jubilee celebrations, Olympic events, summer picnics end of term production rehearsals etc. over the next few weeks [and in the autumn they will have trips to the Panto, practices for nativity plays] But the inspectors will want to see class teachers delivering Literacy Hours and teaching Maths.

If you get a phone call at 2.30pm saying “We are coming tomorrow” do you cancel the picnic or production or panto and send your already tired staff home to completely re-plan the day in one evening? Or risk a bad Ofsted because they didn’t see you doing the ‘regular’ teaching you’d be doing the other 4 schooldays that week?

The lovely school where I worked today had two year groups off site this afternoon, and one year group being completely covered by supply staff whilst the class teachers were working together moderating exam results. How would a snap inspection there have given a clear picture of the teaching in the school?

*I once did supply in a Roman Catholic Secondary School down in London, where the Head told me he believed that it was an acronym for O Father, Send Them Eternal Damnation!


  1. I completely agree with everything you've written in this post! I heard of a school near mine in Solihull where staff were compelled by their head to stay on site until 9.00 pm the evening before an ofsted inspection. How could they teach brilliantly (and naturally) the following day? Jx

  2. Love the last line! If I were a headteacher instead of the lowly school finance officer I think I'd rather have no notice than be told the previous afternoon - all that is is a recipe for a whole lot of people having a very sleepless night and obviously being on less than top form the next morning - who are these prats???? and you can bet they're on a far better salary than the school staff they're putting under such ridiculous unbalanced scrutiny

  3. I run pre schools and nurseries and therefore subject to inspection too. We get no notice at all so no matter if the leader is away, we are on a Gruffalo theatre trip, etc etc - they come they judge we win or lose depending on their particular preference


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